Lisbon school officials consider consolidating services

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LISBON — The School Committee on Monday offered opinions on joining or creating a regional leadership center, as part of a new state law.

Superintendent Richard Green discussed creating a center with Regional School Unit 4 for alternative and day treatment programs, and staff professional development. RSU 4 includes Litchfield, Sabattus and Wales.

“We are in the process of submitting that application,” Green said. “Part one doesn’t commit you to anything but it does fulfill the timeline.”

According to Green, if districts do not join a regional center their state subsidy is reduced by $46 per student for 2018-19 and $94 per student for 2019-20.

After joining a regional center, districts can’t leave that center if it’s going to cause a financial hardship for the other districts.

“You want to make sure if you join a center that you’ve done your research because you can’t get out,” Green said.

The bill is meant to save on administrative costs and give students more opportunities by combining educational services.

But many school committee members are displeased with the new bill.

“It’s consolidation all over again,” Chairwoman Traci Austin said. “It’s adding another layer of administration, which is what I thought the purpose of this whole thing was trying to avoid.”

“I suggest the people of the town of Lisbon get in contact with their senators and representatives to have this thing repealed,” member Pete Reed said.

Also discussed by the committee was budget goals.

“The first (budget) priority is to maintain all existing programs, including reducing class sizes if possible,” Green said.

Others include remaining focused on the district’s mission and vision, maintaining the existing five-year capital improvement plan, considering technology improvements and maintaining professional development and time for staff.

In other business, it was announced that: 

• Lisbon schools are able to have one- or two-hour delays and parents should listen to the full phone message because it might not be a cancellation but a delay;

• Schools will send links for parents to download an application to track their student’s bus for proximity and timing to their house; and

• The next School Committee meeting will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Town Office.

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